- We like...The idea of it
- We don't...How it's turned out
French sports 'mini that's quick but green enough to dodge London's congestion chargeA sports hatchback that dashes from standstill to 62mph in 9.4sec, sips fuel to return up to 64mpg overall and emits little enough CO2 soon to qualify for congestion charge-free trips across central London. Normally, we’d rather tell how it is with a car than chant statistics. But, you have to admit, this C2’s are pretty dandy.
Thanks is due to the 1.6 diesel that powers it. While 110bhp dsn’t sound that much, remember that this is a pint-sized three-door ‘mini and that, with diesels, it’s more about low-revs shove than bhp figures. And the thrust it provides is mighty, justifying Citrn’s thought to dress this as a full-blooded sports model – red and black seats, spoilers, alloy wheels, and chromey trim bits inside.
Like all C2s, it has a handy two-piece hatch that splits at the base of the screen and the lower bit drops so that, if you wish, you can sit on it. There are strictly four seats but each is comfortable and there’s reasonable space for grown ups in all. Entering and exiting the rear is only for the lithe and supple, though, because space is tight even with the front seat fully tipped. Worse yet, the seat is likely to skid back on its runner and bang your ankles.
But while it gs well and fully claims its ‘green’ credentials, for us it dsn’t string together. First there’s that price. For slightly less money, you could have a Renault Clio 3dr with a 106bhp diesel engine and sporty trim. While the Clio’s not as quick, and its 123 g/km CO2 is just 3g too high to escape the congestion charge, it is as economical as the Citrn, it is safer, roomier and smoother. Weigh it up and you’ll agree that the Clio’s easily the better car.
Next, there’s the way that the C2 drives. The ride is sporty-firm but, because the distance between the wheels is so short, it bobbles about whenever the road gets rutty, and seldom settles properly. The driver’s seat hugs you well, but the shifter’s long travel between gears makes it hard to find a perfect at-wheel placing.
Finally, the engine makes a racket. A sporty ‘mini should sound right, but this is a taxi-like grumble, not a performance growl. Go for the petrol-engined C2 VTS and you’ll not only get the engine sound you’re after, it will also (at time of writing) be yours for £3000 less.
With the C2 diesel VTS, we’ll applaud Citrn for trying. But, this time, we think they haven’t quite worked the magic that they hoped for.
- Engines1.6 HDi
- 0-60 mph9.4sec
- Insurance groupsgroup 6E
Motors.co.uk value verdict: